Local News

November 26, 2012

Entrapment or crime prevention?

Daniel Metcalf said he was looking for a relationship with an adult, possibly sexual, when he entered an online website nearly two years ago and began talking with a man who turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Little did Metcalf know the two children the man told him about were fictitious and that the officer invented a story about wanting the two to meet with two elementary school age children in Ringgold in an attempt to lure would-be child predators into a sting operation by the Northwest Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The FBI-led organization includes several local law enforcement agencies, including the Dalton Police Department.

Metcalf agreed to meet the man at a Subway off Battlefield Parkway in Catoosa County. When he arrived, he was arrested and charged with attempted aggravated sodomy, attempted aggravated child molestation and computer pornography. Metcalf said he’s innocent and there’s far more to the story.

At the time a college student living in Cumming, Metcalf said he began talking with the man a week or so before Christmas in 2010. The man eventually suggested they engage in sexual acts with the kids, which the man claimed were his girlfriend’s.

“I was so confused about how to proceed,” said Metcalf. “I didn’t know if it was fantasy, if he was playing games, or if he was serious.”

Metcalf said he did agree to meet the man — but not because he wanted to have sex with the kids. Instead, he said, he wanted to find out if the children he spoke of were actually real or if the man was engaging in “role-playing,” a type of sexual game in which people attempt to verbally live out their fantasies without actually engaging in them. Metcalf said he didn’t know what he would have done had the kids turned out to be real, but one thing is certain — he had no intention of having sexual relations with anyone underage.

Several calls to Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers for comment about the case were not returned, and FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett wouldn’t discuss the case or answer general questions about how the task force operates. Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier apologized and said the department’s agreement with the FBI specifies “that any commentary on the task force has to come from the FBI.” An assistant district attorney in Catoosa County assigned to prosecute Metcalf left a message in response to a call seeking comment but didn’t respond to follow-up calls.

Metcalf’s attorney, Chris Townley, initially said his client would likely face trial in March, but he couldn’t discuss details of the case without his client’s approval. Follow-up calls after Metcalf said he gave approval weren’t returned.

A jury in Catoosa County Superior Court could decide, likely sometime in the coming months, whether its members buy Metcalf’s story. If previous cases similar to his that have been brought by the task force are any indication, his odds aren’t good.

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